Artists: Josh Duffy
What year did you start tattooing?
I started tattooing professionally in October of 2004 at Modern Ink in Inglewood, CA.
How did you get into tattooing?
My friends wanted tattoos and introduced me to tattoo magazines, which very quickly fascinated me.
I wanted to know more about it and eventually I got my first tattoo at the age of 21—then I was hooked!
Where did you apprentice?
I tried very hard to get an apprenticeship at many different shops. Most were unwilling to teach me—I even got laughed at when I went to one shop. It seemed like there wasn’t anyone who took me seriously as an artist. That made me want it even more; I don’t take “no” for an answer. With persistence I found a shop that was willing to take me on, Tattoo Mania in Hollywood, CA. I drove to the shop one late evening, around 7 p.m. Rocco, the owner, asked me how badly I wanted to learn. I was hungry to start learning and do whatever it took to become a tattoo artist, so he said all right, and I began to clean tubes and scrub the toilet within 10 minutes of meeting him. My apprenticeship was old-school and definitely not ideal, but it humbled me and made me realize my place. The apprenticeship with Rocco lasted only six months before I was fired, since I was more interested in art and they were more interested in old-school mentality and basic tattooing. I left the shop feeling very angry and determined to reach my goals. The very next day I met with Mario Vasquez, owner of Modern Ink. Mario was instantly complimentary of my art and hired me on the spot. I began my second apprenticeship with him, and after four days I was asked to do a tattoo, just to see where my skill level was. Upon completion of the tattoo, I was taken off apprenticeship and put on as part-time tattoo artist—I guess I did good, ha. Mario is the man that made it happen for me. He gave me my start and an open door. Everyone in my family is an artist, and they do it for a living. I was around art since I was in diapers, learning how to paint and draw at an early age. I look up to my mom, as she has artwork all over the world, and everything she does is flawless. I feel very fortunate that I have had so much art in my life, and so much support.
What conventions have you worked at? Have you won any awards?
I have worked at many conventions across the United States, and in Australia as well, and have won awards for my work many times. But you know, awards are just someone’s opinion. I think that it is cool to win them, but it doesn’t mean anything.
How do you describe your style?
I am not the best at describing my style, ha ha, but I like to do artwork instead of replication. I like to do dark black-and-gray, not necessarily evil, since anyone who has met me knows that I do not have an evil bone in my body. Portrait work is fun, but gets kind of boring to me since it is not pure art. But it’s definitely practice for the pieces that I enjoy doing.
What inspires you as an artist?
I am inspired by horror movies, plant life, people, nature, religion, culture, elements, and daily life. I feel that everything contributes to the art that I create, and every experience influences my mood. Inspiration comes in many forms.
What other mediums do you work in?
I love to paint and draw, but I don’t have tons of time, since tattooing is full-time for me as well as taking care of my family. I hope to become a much better painter in the future.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
I admire all artists in all forms—it would be selfish to name only a few, since I gather inspiration from all of them to make my art the best it can be.
Is there a tattoo that you haven’t done yet that you are dying to do?
I look forward to tattooing, period. I look forward to creating the best tattoos I can, while progressing with each one I do.